There’s me thinking that Cloak and Dagger Games were working on Incantamentum (wishlist it!), and right under our noses, they developed Sumatra Fate Of Yandi.
Then again, this was a game previously released on PC and now available on consoles. This Sumatra Fate Of Yandi review is courtesy of publisher Ratalaika Games, for the PS5 – interchangeable with the PS4 version.
Yes, this is another of those titles that aren’t pushing the boundaries for next-generation machines, but I welcome anything from the point and click realm – especially as there are so many to choose from on consoles these days.
While we have a few more polished titles in terms of beautifully hand-drawn characters and scenery – take, for instance, anything by Daedalic, Sumatra Fate Of Yandi is a definite throwback to the classic games by the likes of Sierra, more than say LucasArts.
I don’t know a single person at Cloak and Dagger Games, but follow them on Twitter and have no hesitation in saying they’re passionate about the genre and understand what makes a decent story and adventure game. Admittedly, their old school approach may put off many people, but if you’re here as a point and click fan, you won’t be disappointed.
The story is from the perspective of Yandi. A hard-grafting employee for a logging firm on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, his simple life is getting complicated as he’s overworked and unpaid. This is understandably putting on a strain on his partner, Adiratna.
When we’re introduced to his boss, we under his plight and join him in his duties. Immediately cut short, there’s a landslide, and he’s separated from known civilisation. His radio broken, he’s unable to get hold of Adiratna to check if she’s ok, nor can he reach his co-worker and brother-in-law, Ramdan.
Jumping back to that comment about putting people off, Sumatra Fate Of Yandi PS5 looks like it was straight out of the late 80s/early 90s. The best comparison would have to be the original Pitfall mixed with Leisure Suit Larry Looking For Love (In Several Wrong Places).
If you’ve read a few of my point and click reviews, you’ll know that Mr Laffer is a hero of mine, and the aforementioned LSL adventure was the game that enticed me into the genre. It wasn’t The Secret of Monkey Island like everyone else. It was a sentimental experience but also brought back haunted memories of quicksand and elevators in volcanos.
Sumatra Fate Of Yandi doesn’t share the same malice for the players as Sierra did with instadeath, as you can’t die in the conventional sense. For the first half-hour or so, it feels catered to us older adventurers – for the memories, but also because it’s a bit more accessible than most of its ilk.
It soon opens up, and you have to apply yourself to locating passwords and keycodes, paying attention to the environment around you. In tone with the classic adventure games, Sumatra Fate Of Yandi doesn’t have a button that highlights all objects on screen, so there’s backtracking in terms of fetch quests and revisiting an area for something you may have missed.
I suppose you could complete this within a sitting, but from my stance, you should engorge yourself on the narrative if you have the time, at a leisurely pace. Though the visuals may not be a lure for most, the human story is. We can all relate to work-life balance, relationships with co-workers and partners (your hand with that face drawn on doesn’t count), and Sumatra Fate Of Yandi is a very authentic story.
I’m not a manual worker – I’ve tried but like my dad refers to me, ‘has lily wrists’ – but I get Yandi’s predicament of putting all the hours in under the sun, sacrificing almost everything for the long term goal, but sometimes that doesn’t materialise. The story here isn’t about aliens and returning your bones to a wardrobe; it’s about survival and correcting things if there’s still a chance.
On a personal level, it’s a nostalgic piece – I even wanted the option to type in commands ‘kick kid in river’ ‘pee on flowers’ like back in the day with Sierra titles, but it’s pretty accommodating for newcomers as the controls in a point and click are far from complex. Likewise, the inventory combinations are similar to the excellent Inspector Waffles as they’re logical and make sense. Unlike a lot of LucasArts games, despite the affection for them.
So is Sumatra Fate Of Yandi solely for veteran adventurers? Absolutely not. The visuals are a niche, in my opinion, so if that isn’t an issue, you’ll connect with Yandi and his world, unearth a few revelations and be pleased you set the time aside to give it a go. And, as it’s a Rataliaka Game, it’s very affordable and well worth the purchase.
- Relatable, authentic story.
- Nostalgia for veteran adventurers.
- Logical puzzles that do make sense.
- An acquired taste, but nice artwork.
- Characters lack distinguishing features.
- The music and sound is understated.
- Confusing choice of colours in dialogue options – easy to miss subjects.